Sweet Parting Of Ways

By: Colin Ong TS

Why settle for bad feelings when your employee leaves the firm? Human resource managers can help to sweeten the occasion during the exit interview, and get valuable information to help the company in the new knowledge age.

More often than not, human resource (HR) managers place more importance on job interviews than on exit interviews.

In the best scenario, the manager will view the employee's departure as an opportunity to reshuffle the work team; in the worst scenario, the manager may feel this action as a 'slight' to the running of the department.

But exit interviews can be an important channel of feedback that can benefit the organisation in the longer term.

Though it may be difficult to conduct such an interview, the manager must do some groundwork beforehand to get as much out of it as possible. Here are some tips:

Interview immediate supervisor:

The manager must conduct a private interview with the employee's direct supervisor first.

This is to hear from both sides of the fence.

If the worker is adamant on leaving, it is best not to burn bridges with the supervisor who may not intend to leave for sometime to come.

Acknowledge achievements:

Prepare a list of achievements that the employee has achieved since joining your organisation.

It will also be better if you can get this designed as a framed memento with signatures from top management. Every employee that leaves your organisation is a walking billboard.

Arrange for alternative posting:

If the employee has potential but feels that the current job has no career prospects, you should take the initiative to ask what alternative posting he will consider.

You can also use this opportunity to reshuffle the job responsibilities of your staff and implement the overdue promotion exercise.

Always remember that a talented employee will be continually restless in his current job. Job rotation may prove useful in this situation.

Offer educational opportunities:

Some employees feel that they cannot have a 'grip' on their jobs because they are not trained sufficiently. They may have found this out when they attend conferences and share experiences with their peers in other organisations.

You can arrange for this employee to handle projects that are not bound to the office. He can also use this opportunity take up short courses. An overseas attachment can be considered here.

If the situation is changed…

Many HR managers are wary about conducting exit interviews because they feel uncomfortable by the employee's 'emotional' state. Managers must realise that the labour market is never static, taking into account the current influx of online employment agencies.

It is the norm that the employee's decision to leave is also strongly influenced by better offers of competing organisations.

The manager must tactfully encourage this employee to reveal his conditions to stay in your organisation.

You may not be able to keep this employee; but you can put a lid on the problem spreading to other employees.

Will the departure affect organisational knowledge? The departure of an employee will inadvertently create the transfer of organisational knowledge. It is the duty of all HR managers to ensure that their organisation's intellectual property has not been transferred to a competitor. Thus it is crucial to do a knowledge management audit.

Build future alliance

The visionary manager must see the departure of the employee as an opportunity to build future alliances with the other organisation that the employee is joining. Thus it is crucial that there must be an amicable parting.

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